Wednesday, July 13, 2011

[ZESTCaste] Gujarat govt indifference to boycott of dalits baffles activists

Gujarat govt indifference to boycott of dalits baffles activists
Published: Wednesday, Jul 13, 2011, 17:01 IST
By Roxy Gagdekar | Place: Ahmedabad | Agency: DNA

Whether it is the police department, the social justice and
empowerment department or the panchayat department itself, no
department of the state government has showed any interest in the
boycott of dalits by Muslims right in the heart of Nano Land.

Even the Congress party, which is in control of the Gram Panchayat of
Andej village in Sanand, has done nothing to end the boycott so far.

However, the people and activists at the local level are continuing
their struggle for justice and equality. "We are still not allowed to
purchase anything from the grocery or pan shops in the village," said
Shankar Shenwa, a dalit resident of the village.

"Muslim leaders have made an offer for settlement but we will not
settle for anything unless we are treated as equals and with respect,"
he said.

An activist for dalit rights, Suresh Jadhav of Navsarjan Trust,
Sanand, told DNA that they had drafted a petition and were submitting
it to all the departments concerned in an effort to end the boycott of
the dalits.

However, as of now, as many as 500 dalits of the village have to
struggle for the daily needs of life because of the people who have
boycotted them.

They have to spend money on travelling to grocery shops located 14 km
away when the same things are available at shops in the village.
Moreover, they have to spend much more on travelling just because they
cannot use the local transport system which is dominated by members of
the Muslim community.

RP Tank, joint director, social justice and empowerment department,
told DNA that they cannot do anything unless they
get details from the victims.

"So far, we have received no information either from the police or
even the victims themselves," he said.

Deputy superintendent of police, Sarkhej, RK Patel, could not
contacted despite several attempts by DNA.
However, inspector general of police, Ahmedabad range, GS

Malik, told DNA that a police team had visited the spot but they could
not find any evidence of the boycott of dalits.

Mamlatdar, Sanand taluka, who is also the chairman of the local body
for prevention of atrocities on Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes,
said that they could not act until they received a written
application. "The people have so far not approached us," he said.


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